“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 (NIV)
My kids and I’ve had quite a few discussions regarding listening to God’s voice and how we know it’s really Him talking. I’ve never heard my Father audibly, but I have had moments in life when He’s spoken so clearly in my spirit that there was no doubt He had just asked me to obey something or whispered comforting words I desperately needed to hear.
One of the blessings that has come out of our family’s difficulties last fall was a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father. Waking up to have my devotions every morning is something I eagerly anticipate. Reading the Bible is more than just a homework assignment. It’s a chance to get to know the Creator of the Universe and how much He absolutely loves His children, all of us. Modeling myself after Jesus is easier when I get a chance to study how He did it so effortlessly. I’m not there yet, but it gives me a mark to try and hit. A direct result of the closer relationship I’ve developed with God is hearing the Holy Spirit speak more often and about a variety of ways He wants me to obey.
However, the choice of whether or not to listen to what He’s saying and obey is still completely up to me. Sometimes it’s as simple as, “That person looks sad. Maybe you should give them a hug.” Other times it’s more complex, “I want you to clean up the house before Bill gets home. Don’t make the kids do it. It’s your turn to show love to your family without expecting anything in return.” Sometimes the consequences of not listening are inconvenient, life learning, but not Earth shattering. Other times the result of disobedience from not listening creates a financial strain, conflict in relationships, or has more lasting negative results.
I find for myself, when I don’t listen it’s usually because I’m either being selfish or reacting out of fear instead of walking in faith. Sometimes I’m tired, lazy, or just don’t feel like being nice. Other times I’m feeling internal pressure to try and keep up with people instead of waiting for God’s perfect timing. It doesn’t really matter why I didn’t obey – the consequences show me I made a bad choice.
When I do choose to listen, put simply – choose to obey, blessings follow. Sometimes that blessing is peace that I’ve made my Father happy. Other times it’s a financial blessing or taking a relationship to the next level. Just being able to go to bed at night knowing I was faithful in completing the jobs God asked me to do is enough of a blessing sometimes.
The closer I grow to God, the clearer I hear His voice. My prayer is that I’ll continually tune my antennae to His frequency, listening for and obeying what He wants me to do. I have peace that when I unintentionally don’t hear Him, He will speak again. And, even when I mess up, God loves me enough to give me another chance to get it right. I’ve learned it’s okay to ask, “Could you please repeat that?”